09 Nov

What are the cornerstones of peacebuilding?

Posted By Politybooks

Denis Sandole, author of Peacebuilding, blogs on the synergistic partnerships necessary to eliminate violent conflict.

 Sandole - PeacebuildingOther than finding it extremely difficult to say ‘no’ to Dr. Louise Knight, Polity’s senior acquisitions editor, who invited me to participate in Polity’s Series on War and Conflict in the Modern World, I was attracted to write Peacebuilding: Preventing Violent Conflict in a Complex World, by the, perhaps, arrogant assumption that I could make a contribution to solving the kinds of problems that citizens and political leaders alike around the world are confronting more and more with each passing day.  These are the kinds of problems that theTurkish-American social psychologist Muzafer Sheriff implied years ago were linked to his innovative concept of superordinate goals: problems that could not be solved by any one actor alone but only by the coordinated efforts of multi-level, multi-sectoral actors workingtogether in synergistic partnerships.

Hence, for a comprehensive, macro enterprise such as Peacebuilding to be effective, it must address climate change, pandemics, population growth, ecological degradation, poverty, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, state failure, and terrorism, among others, operationally as well as conceptually in any given pre-, during-, or post-conflict situation because these may be among the complex, interconnected”hidden drivers” of the conflict in question.

One of the major reasons why Peacebuilding has not been too successful up until now is because the underlying, deep-rooted causes and conditions of violent conflict have tended not to be addressed by a fatigued but also impatient international community. This volume makes a contribution to at least sensitize us to that need and to how it can be addressed.

Dennis Sandole is Professor of Conflict Resolution and International Relations at George Mason University.